As a nurse working in the operating theatre at a major hospital, it is my responsibility to check the paper work and consent forms of all patients coming into the theatre. As consent issues are a huge topic, it is paramount that the papers are correct.
In keeping with my continuing education, I am required to attend classes which focus on different current health care topics.
On checking through the paper work, I noticed her husband had signed the consent form. I explained to him that this consent was not valid, and it would need two doctors' signatures. The husband, however, was under the impression that he had every right to do this, ad he was her power of attorney. I explained that this fact didn't matter, and that nobody other than a certified doctor could sign the consent of another adult. Subsequently, the surgeon was called in to rewrite and sign a new form. He, too, was under the impression that the husband could sign the form.
As all this was happening in front of the wife, I felt very embarrassed, as it looked as if no one knew what they were doing. All I knew was, I was right to ask for a new form. I would not have let the patient go to the theatre if the form had not been changed.
This situation not only deals with consent in general, but, more specifically, focuses on the reflective model of informed consent. Defined, "informed consent is a patient's right to be presented with sufficient information, by either the physician or their representative, to allow the patient to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to consent to a treatment or procedure" (Snyder, et. al.). ...